Reductions in heel bone quality across gestation are attenuated in pregnant adolescents with higher prepregnancy weight and greater increases in PTH across gestation

Corrie M. Whisner, Bridget E. Young, Frank R. Witter, Zena Leah Harris, Ruth A. Queenan, Elizabeth M. Cooper, Kimberly O. O'Brien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the effect of maternal calcium intake and vitamin D status on bone health across gestation in pregnant adolescents. This study aimed to characterize maternal bone quality and determinants of bone-quality change across gestation in pregnant adolescents. Healthy pregnant adolescents (n=156; aged 13 to 18 years) with singleton pregnancies and at 12 to 30 weeks gestation at enrollment were recruited from two urban maternity clinics in Baltimore, MD, and Rochester, NY, for this prospective longitudinal study. Maternal serum was collected at midgestation and at delivery for assessment of bone biomarkers and calcitropic hormones. Maternal bone quality (assessed by heel ultrasound) and sonographic fetal biometry were measured up to three times across pregnancy. Racially diverse teens (64.7% African American, 35.3% white) were followed from 21.0 (interquartile range [IQR] 17.3, 27.0) weeks of gestation until delivery at 40.0 (IQR 39.0, 40.7) weeks. Significant decreases in calcaneal speed of sound (SOS), broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), and quantitative ultrasound index (QUI) (-9.2±16.1m/s, -3.2 (-8.0, 2.1) dB/MHz and -5.3±8.8, respectively) were evident across pregnancy. Multivariate analysis controlling for baseline measures and measurement intervals was used to identify independent predictors of normalized (per week) calcaneal bone loss. Weekly decreases in bone quality were not significantly associated with maternal calcium intake or 25(OH)D concentration. Greater weekly reductions in calcaneal bone quality were evident in teens with lower prepregnancy weight (BUA, p=0.006 and QUI, p=0.012) and among those with lower weekly increase in PTH (SOS, p=0.046). Overall, significant decreases in calcaneal bone quality occurred across pregnancy in adolescents, but the magnitude of this loss was attenuated in those with greater prepregnancy weight and weekly increases in PTH. Further studies are needed to understand the role of elevated PTH and greater prepregnancy weight in preserving adolescent bone during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2109-2117
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • PTH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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